Taser International spokespuppet Steve Tuttle said the California ruling applies only to that case. "The court's holding does not establish any new law for use of a taser..." electro-torture device, Tuttle said in an e-mail message. [LINK]
Now, I'm not a lawyer (let me repeat that: I'm not a lawyer), but that statement from Mr. Taser-4-brains may set a world record for the worst legal advice from anyone, anywhere.
Fact is that this ruling DOES set a new standard. Use a taser under similar circumstances (very very common up to now) and it is excessive force. The only other jurisdictions that might be considered "safe bets" would be certain unnamed overseas clients with dark dungeons and brisk sales of replacement battery packs.
Face facts - a certain Coronado police Officer named Brian McPherson, presumably a fully "trained" and certified "expert" in the proper and what-he-was-told-was-legal use of the less-than-(or-equal-to)-lethal weapon, is now facing legal ruin. His obviously-defective taser training is almost certainly traceable, in large part, back to these same folks at Taser International.
It certainly turns the 'Dirty Harry' situation around: Officer armed with a taser, facing a non-cooperative subject; contemplates tasering him. Subject looks the Officer square in the eye and asks, "Are YOU feeling lucky?"
Even before this ruling, the settlement cheques have been flying. Why? Because it's common sense. You DO NOT taser EXCEPT when it's obviously a rational response to an immediate threat.
This is what the Canadian Braidwood Inquiry concluded.
It's essentially what the Maryland AG concluded.
Taking legal advice from the "brain trust" at Taser International, when they have clearly been in the wrong so many times, would be a very stupid move.
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